Definitely the latter. Look how much trouble Butterbur had finding someone willing to take a letter to the Shire. Who would be delivering mail from Rivendell? It was Bilbo's last letter in the sense it was the last letter he wrote and left for Frodo, most likely in the envelope left on the mantelpiece containing the Ring and his will and other documents.
ahh...that's what i thought too....yes, I don't think "middle Earth Mail" had really got started yet...would have been kind of like "The Pony Express", I guess..haha!!...nice to talk to you by the way, Pretty Tyrant, don' t think we've talked before?....
I'm new in these parts, sort of visiting.
The 'last letter' line also struck me the way it did you the first time I read it. And the first time you read it of course you have no idea of how likely it is or not that Bilbo could send letters as you don't even know where he is. It is one of those quirks of the language that the wording can feasibly mean two things and it depends on knowledge of the context to know for certain which.
Absolutely, language can be so tricky..it all depends on interpretation...it also throws up one of the big differences between the book & the film...in the book there were 17 years between Bilbo leaving The Shire & Frodo leaving....It's funny isn't it...there were many differences in the film that have been noted...but the one that no one seems to reference, is the age of Frodo....Elijah Wood was 18 when he made the film, and I think Frodo was kind of meant to be the same age(obviously)...but in the book Frodo was 50 ..(yes..50 !!!) when he left the Shire....!!!
I am normally on the side of the book in most things, but..I dont know...do you think a 50 year old Frodo would have looked right ?....
I don't think Frodo ever looked fifty. In the book the Ring, from the moment he receives it (33) slows his aging. And hobbits live longer, with 33 being there 'Coming of Age' it is not unreasonable to see this as equating to the human 21. Frodo's appearance of a hobbit just out of his 'Tweens' is remarked upon by the worthies of the Ivy Bush round a pint. Just out his tweens in human equivalent therefore would be just out of the teenage years, so Elijah is not far off age wise.
Yes, I take your point....all the ages need to be referenced in relation to to the average life spans...indeed, Aragorn was 87...but he is one of the Dunedain, blessed with long life...he eventually lives to be..what ?...700 is it ?...so i think the appearence of Viggo was about right....
Yes but whats with Viggos accent in the films? He's good on the eye and an excellent actor but his accent as Aragorn changes not only film to film but often scene to scene.
I never liked the 17 year break being removed. And I don't buy the reason given on the commentary that it would slow the film down either, as having watched my brother Petty's megaedit of the films where the 17 years is reinstated it not only does not slow the film it works better, putting the conversation in the inn referencing 'that old Bilbo Baggins, he was cracked' in a better context in that it sounds like longer should have passed between the party and someone saying that, and making sense of the physical appearance of Bilbo at Rivendell, and Frodo's reaction to seeing him again. In PJ's version there is at best only a few months between Bilbo leaving Bag End and Frodo turning up at Rivendell. Without the 17 year gap the film makes no sense at all on these points. But then its not the first nor last time in those films PJ jettisons sense or logic within his story in favour of spectacle or rushing to a point.
I never got the impression that Bilbo and Frodo stayed in touch after Bilbo left, but I had never really thought about the "last letter" line. I have to agree with Pretty Tyrant that it probably refers to a letter Bilbo left behind before he left.
As for aging, I have never agreed with the school of thought that Hobbits at 33 look similar to humans at 21. I think that the Hobbit "coming of age" date reflects not a physiological difference but a recognition that "young adults" in their 20s are not the same as "full" adults. Tolkien's description of the 20s for Hobbits are "tweens, as the hobbits called the irresponsible twenties between childhood and coming of age at thirty-three." As someone who spends a lot of time around college students at the lower end of that spectrum, I don't think it sounds that different from humans.
With that in mind, I think that Elijah Wood was too young to play Frodo, although I have several other criticisms of him that irk me far more.
As for Aragorn, he lived to be about 210 years old and in the chapter "The White Rider" of The Two Towers he states to Gandalf that "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses". I imagine - though I am not confident enough in this mental image to defend it against determined criticism - that this would put Aragorn in the visual range of a modern human in perhaps their 40s.
Since Viggo was in his early 40s when they were filming, I think he was about the right age to play Aragorn. Incidentally, Viggo was brought on at the last minute because the actor previously cast as Aragorn was dropped, largely for being too young.
Unsurprisingly I disagree about the Coming of Age thing Eldo dear. Tolkien was a Brit and the hobbits reflect British/English norms. For Brits the 20's are definitely adulthood with the Coming of Age equivalent at 18 legally and at 21 symbolically (keys of the door). (I remember mine well it lasted 3 weeks of dancing and drinking, happy days). And the 'irrepressible tweens' sounds very much like a human 'irrepressible teen' to me, a play on words. And when you take into account to the differences in life span I think it fits.
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